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Minimum cartridge for 1000 yard elk

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Unread 11-05-2007, 05:08 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Whitewater, KS
Posts: 6
Minimum cartridge for 1000 yard elk

Sorry if this has been asked before.

What would you consider the minimum cartridge for elk at 1000 yards? I had a friend ask me this question, and I told him that it should probably be at least one of the .338 calibers. I told him I wouldn't even consider a .30 caliber rifle for elk.

Has anyone taken elk at close to 1000 yards with a .30 caliber rifle? If so, what was your experience with the cartridge, and would you be willing to use it again?


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Unread 11-05-2007, 06:15 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Pueblo, CO
Posts: 286
I think most people would consider that bullet energy should be at least 1000ftlbs for that size animal, and that's even a bit light for a 500-700lb animal. You can certainly do that with the magnum 30's, and even some of the big magnum 7mm's. Of course, you have to have a very high BC bullet and pushing max velocities to get that kind of energy at that range. You just won't cut the mustard with factory loads at that range.
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Unread 11-05-2007, 06:23 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,839
First of all I have never taken an elk (or any big game animal @ 1K).
I usually hunt and take elk most every year I hunt them and I have done it all with 6.5's, 7mm's and 30's.
I am fully convinced one does not need at .338 to accomplish the task well.
I believe there is a number of calibers that can work given the right set- up.
I would start @ the .277 calibers and head upward.
Probably a 6.5 would do the job, but I lean toward 7mm for my elk hunting and yes, under the right circumstances using one of Richard Grave's bullets I would take the shot with full expecation of killing it.
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Unread 11-05-2007, 06:50 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Yakima, Washington
Posts: 3,775
One of many, many criteria that some people use in choosing a bullet for a big game animal is that it has 900-1000 pounds of energy at the point of impact. Many would argue those energy levels are low, and they would have a valid argument. An elk is a big animal. Energy, in and of itself, is not a valid deciding factor however. It would be possible to have that energy produced by a bullet whose construction would render it useless on an animal the size of a bull elk, at any range.

You would need a cartridge/bullet combo that would be firing a bullet with proven field performance at that range on an animal the size of an elk. You have to know that the bullet is going to expand and perform properly at the distance at which you attempt to take the animal.

Retained energy, sectional density, jacket construction, velocity etc. etc. should all be considered. When you have a bullet in whatever caliber you prefer that will give you reliable performance on elk at 1000 yards then you can be confident in taking that shot. This doesn't even take into consideration field and weather conditions and the size and condition of the elk in question. Big elk or small elk, has he been pushed and is he excited or completely relaxed? Shoulder shot or through the lungs.? Broadside or quartering? What works at 300-500 yards won't necessarily even come close to working properly and reliably at 1000 yards.

I agree fully with "xphunter" in that .338 is not a requirement. I shoot a little 7mm AM that has right at 2000 pounds of energy at 1000 yards and with one of Richard's 200 grain WCs I would not hesitate to take a shot at a bull elk at 1000 yards if the conditions were right. It has proven deadly on elk out to just under 700 yards so far and the elk was dead before he hit the ground.;)

I also agree fully with "xphunter" in that, given a cartridge that has the horsepower to propel a properly constructed bullet at a velocity that gives you the needed performance at 1000 yards that you could easily start with the .277s and work up. My buddy shoots a 270 AM and it would be fine for an elk under proper conditions.

Also remember that even though you have chosen a bullet, in whatever caliber, that will perform reliably on an elk sized animal at 1000 yards.............you have to have a gun/pilot combination that will absolutely, under the current conditions, be able to place that first, cold bore shot, precisely where it needs to be on that bull elk to produce a killing shot. If the gun/pilot combo can't make the shot, then the shot absolutely should not be taken no matter if the bullet itself is up to the task or not.;)
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Unread 11-05-2007, 07:45 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,845
After reading this I find it rather humorous as the VAST majority of the people on the forum have no more Idea what it takes to put a killing shot into the vitals under field conditions at 1k than a man in the moon… To even suggest some of the smaller cartridges at 1k for an Elk is rather laughable not to mention being able to properly set up and judge the conditions required to put the bullet where it goes. This is a very tough task and if you miss the vitals with some of the rounds mentioned here you have sent one of America’s finest game animals off to a slow death which is a travesty in itself.

When you can hit a 18 inch steel gong at 1K everytime with a cartridge that will still generate enough energy to properly do the job in the field-----then and only then try it in the field on a live anmial.

My gong at the ranch I practice on is 1200yds (practice for my 1k IBS shooting) and is 12 inches across and let me tell you it is tough to do with a sporter---even with my Speedy built sporter rifles and my competition rest it is tough!!

Just imagine 10k feet with a 20mph wind and like so many are using the proverbial “light weight 6.0 lb rifle” trying to make that shot..

Get a 338 Lapua (I like the AI version) with a good brake and practice practice practice....
The Truth Is Not Always Good For Business!!
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Unread 11-05-2007, 08:26 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,232
I've taken elk and I've seen elk taken. A large elk hit improperly can carry a LOT of lead. Hit perfectly, almost anything will kill an elk. Elk (especially large bulls) have big heavy bones NEAR the vitals. I really don't think you can be OVER gunned when you are talking large animals at long distance, check my signature.

If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.

My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives
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Unread 11-05-2007, 09:16 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: california
Posts: 362
AJ this a very good question i have a LSS in 300 RUM that im going to use for my first long range rig ive been wondering if the 300 is enough out to 1000 yards or so for Elk or should i use the action and get a 338 out of it


Last edited by Dead Beat; 11-05-2007 at 09:37 PM.
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